Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Daniel Comar

This is akin to asking for my favorite movie of all time or which book would I bring to a desert island.

Truth is, there’s no one answer to any of these questions.

I could go for the ‘right’ answer: Those movies, books and ads that are critically acclaimed and hold some sort of indisputable intrinsic value. Yet those are not necessarily the ones you want to watch or read again and again if you were stranded on that desert island.


MORE: Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Kit Ong, Chief Creative Officer, The Purpose Group Vietnam

On the other hand, there are the ones you can enjoy over and over again, though they might not offer a great deal of learnings.

I think I’d go for two I like. Both of which I choose for meaningful reasons to me. Because they made an impact on the way I think and the way I work.

The first ‘ad’ I like is Volkswagen’s The Fun Theory


Back then, the promo and activation category was in its creative infancy. I had just moved from traditional advertising into brand activation and this campaign showed me the way.

The conventional approach to get people more active would have been to find the most compelling message (get back in shape, mind your health because of your loved ones, increase your chances of getting a partner, etc.) and then create memorable lines, visuals and a 360º campaign to be broadcast in the hope that someone will listen, remember it and eventually act on it.

We have developed a powerful ability to ignore and dismiss anything that remotely smells like an ad, no matter how entertaining or clever it could be.

The Piano Stairs does none of that. There’s no message. There’s no key visual. There’s practically no storytelling. It was a different type of creativity that had a direct influence on people’s actions.

Volkswagen said ‘we believe that the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better is by making it fun to do’. I soon found out that fun is just one of the many possibilities. I’ve started learning more about human behaviour and the real factors that drive action. And in doing so, I’ve found a fertile new creative ground free of formats and extremely effective delivering business results.

The second ‘ad’ I like is Anchor’s X-Ray Casts

We see this behavioural approach a lot in ideas that try to change the world: get people to eat healthier, stop violence, or drive safely to name a few. Nothing wrong with that but can it also be used for commercial purposes?

X-Ray Casts is a beautiful example of that. An idea that drives brand trial without talking directly about the benefits of the product but inspiring concrete actions instead.

You don’t see a lot of original milk campaigns. This idea not only makes the brand stand out but it literally glues it onto the consumers’ arms for weeks and by the nature of the promotion blocks the consumption of other brands for the same period. Likely result: a long-term behaviour change and increased demand.

The ‘ad’ I Don’t Like is… the ‘ad’

You’d be right arguing that the two ‘ads’ I like are, strictly speaking, not ads.

I grew tired of ads, and so have all of us as consumers.

We have developed a powerful ability to ignore and dismiss anything that remotely smells like an ad, no matter how entertaining or clever it could be.

I don’t like brands trying to sell to me so I don’t recommend ‘ads’ to our clients. Instead, I believe that we should inspire people to buy and that our job is to demonstrate what role the brand plays in a person’s life.

So, in short, the one ad I don’t like is any ‘ad’.

Picture of Daniel Comar

Daniel Comar

Daniel is the Regional Executive Creative Director at Geometry Global, Asia Pacific

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